Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty

Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette wrote a column this evening for USA Today’s Wisconsin Network urging the Packers to sign free agent running back Adrian Peterson. He makes the case that Peterson still has plenty of productive football ahead of him, and writes off Peterson having whipped his four-year-old with a tree branch as learned behavior. Specifically, he chalks Peterson’s drive to beat his son up to beatings that Peterson’s “likely” ancestors suffered as slaves.

The middle paragraph has since been scrubbed from the column, and now only the last sentence remains. Previous versions of the story do not appear on the Wayback Machine, although the site shows that the post was published at 8:04 p.m. CST and updated at 9:22 p.m. CST.

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We called Dougherty and his editors at the Press-Gazette, and the paper gave the following statement to Deadspin:

A paragraph in an earlier version of Pete Dougherty’s column that included a reference to Peterson’s punishment of his 4-year-old son being connected to America’s history of slavery was removed. It was poorly reasoned and insensitive. We apologize to all readers who were offended.

h/t Hyatt